Black History Month is the successor to Negro History Week, which was initiated on February 12, 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a pre-eminent historian and founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
Woodson was concerned that the contributions of Black Americans were overlooked or misrepresented and he began lobbying for Negro History Week as early as 1915. He selected February because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14) whom he believed had dramatically impacted the lives of Black Americans.
In 1976, Woodson's legacy, now renamed the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, successfully lobbied to extend Black History Week into a month-long observance.
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